Strategy buffs beware – the time for conquest is finally upon us. Europa Universalis IV is the latest in an ever-growing series of strategy games by Paradox Interactive. Similar to Europa III, but different at the same time – Europa IV improves on many feature and offers a unique strategy perspective unlike its predecessors.
Europa is a hardcore strategy game that is heavily based on logistics and statistics. You must govern cities, control government, and take control of a continent on a massive scale. I will admit that Europa IV comes with a rather difficult learning curve. Beginners will find the game’s learning curve overwhelming at first, but it becomes a lot easier with practice and by using the extensive tutorial system.
The tutorial system can be accessed from the main menu before you begin or continue a game. It also takes you through the intricacies of Europa IV, allowing you to experience combat and the diplomatic side of gameplay. Plus, you will experience training, trading and other aspects of Europa IV during the tutorial.
Europa IV is by no means a linear strategy game. No matter how many times you play through the single-player campaign, it is never the same game twice. There are 10 different regions to choose from – Ottomans, Castile, Venice, Poland and Muscovy, to name just a few. Europa also allows the player to choose from different countries located in each continent.
For example – you can select the continent Venice and then choose from smaller countries such as Naples, Roma and even neighboring countries such as Milan. You are not restricted to the 10 default regions; they are merely placeholders for you to explore. You can start a campaign with the default regions, but having access to the countries inside these regions adds replay value to the game.
Each region has its own faith, strengths and weaknesses to factor in. Some regions/countries will grant you military bonuses such as armies or fleets, while others will give you diplomatic bonuses. Your initial decisions account for everything you do, including the country you start with. Depending on the country and/or region you select, you can recreate some of the world’s most historical wars like the forming of Italy, among others.
You do not have to follow a historical path; you can shape your own history by rewriting all historical movements and wars throughout the centuries. This is what makes Europa IV so good; you can do whatever you want at any given moment. You are given complete control over the starting dates and times to start your reign.
The non-linear gameplay gives the player enough flexibility to create alliances, control the taxation of countries, and wage all-out war between factions. War isn’t the only resolve to every problem in Europa IV; you can use diplomats to strengthen your alliances or cause public turmoil. Thanks to your diplomats, you can avoid war with other regions. This allows political minded gamers to settle differences, sign treaties and avoid sending in troops.
You can conquer regions and even countries by simply engaging in a royal marriage. Marriage is a necessity in the Europa universe since it will gradually produce an heir to your throne. If you want your dynasty to continue on after your death, you must produce an heir who will eventually take control of your empire. Your heir will not only take control over your kingdom, but any land you possessed as well. Having no heir can have severe consequences for your kingdom.
When combat occurs, it is displayed on the world map as both numbers and statistics. There are no combat graphics to illustrate the ‘action’ like in some strategy games (think Paradox Interactive’s King Arthur). The gameplay caters to hardcore strategy fans who prefer statics and logistics.
The in-game atmosphere is epic in proportion and even dramatic at times. You actually experience the consequences of your decisions as they have an impact on the economy and even the citizens.
The incredibly beautiful soundtrack from Europa III has made a comeback. Containing a mixture of classic and contemporary soundtracks, the music is an absolute delight to listen to. There hasn’t been a strategy game in recent memory that’s had a soundtrack of this caliber. It’s a relaxing mix of songs that generate a tranquil feeling while you play.
Europa Universalis IV is a fantastic addition to any strategy gamer’s collection. It offers the player the chance to be a ruthless dictator who is feared by millions or a king that is loved by all. The choice is ultimately yours.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC (Also Available for Mac)
PC System Requirements
OS: XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8
Processor: Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz eller AMD 3500+
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900, 512mb video memory required
Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space
Sound: Direct X- compatible soundcard
Other Requirements: Broadband Internet connection
Additional: Controller support: 3-button mouse, keyboard and speakers. Internet Connection or LAN for multiplayer
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
ESRB: T (Teen)
|The world map is very beautiful; it’s filled with small details and delicate touches.|
|The music and sound effects are astonishing for this style of game.|
|Epic battles and executive decisions wait for you around every corner.|
|Europa Universalis IV is the best version in the series. It improves on the gameplay from previous releases by adding features that gamers have always wanted.|